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I’ve worked in the kitchens as well – I spent a few months as a busboy and dishwasher, and for a month or so I was even working at the prep station.” Now depending on the type of restaurant, two hundred people a night might not be all that much, but the employer at least knows your minimum capability.
Without it, they’re going to be just guessing and chances are that they’ll err on the side of the caution and hire whoever they know the best.
I asked this of a young woman seated across from me, watching her expression turn from nervousness to pure, undiluted panic.
In a stuttering voice, she began to talk about her two children, her life as a single mother, and how long she’d been in town, before it all came to a jumbled crash and she asked me just what on earth it was I wanted to know. It’s my job to help people get back into the workforce and I’ve conducted mock interviews well into the triple digits, almost all with the same reaction to that prompt.
It’s perhaps the single most commonly asked interview question, and certainly the most important.
In spite of that, more than anything else, it’s the question that continues to trip us up.
We’re not used to thinking about ourselves, much less talking about ourselves, in terms of what we can offer to an employer.
Think of it this way: any commercial on TV that just showed you the list of ingredients for a snack or the mechanics of the gadget they’re selling probably wouldn’t get any reaction from you. They give you images of attractive, vibrant young people at parties and camping trips, or racing puppies through the spacious backyards of nice houses along with their smiling families (all regardless of whether or not they’re related to the product they’re selling).
If you’re going to hit the ground running in the interview, it’s imperative you provide the employer with something substantial.